I watch a lot of short films covering both LGBTQ+ themes and other subjects. Just as some people enjoy reading short stories, I find short films have a special quality over feature-length films. Every second counts in a short film since there’s only a few minutes to set the scene, define the characters and tell the story. Short films can pack a wallop, leaving you laughing, crying or thinking.
There are so many good LGBT short films out there that I’ve decided to do a little Pride 2021 Film Festival here on the blog. I’ll post a collection of films every Saturday this month. You can watch these on any device, but for full effect I suggest watching on a big screen desktop monitor or connecting to your TV.
This first week I’m starting with repeats from my website and previous posts here on my blog. If you’ve missed these films before or want to watch again, now’s your chance. Starting next week I’ll post new films that I’ve never featured before.
A film from 2015, Pretty Boy, is winner of ‘My Award For Best LGBT Short Film.’ A screenshot from the film appears in the title banner at the top of this post. Pretty Boy is a heartwarming story, wonderfully acted. It won Best Drama at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, Best Screenplay at the Sydney Indie Film Festival, and numerous other awards and nominations including Best Actor, Best Male Lead and Best Female Lead.
The story… After John finds gay porn in son Sean’s room, he buys Sean a special birthday gift: a night with a hooker, Katie. He hopes the experience will turn Sean around — and it does, but not in the way he wanted. Both Sean and Katie come away changed forever.
This next video features interviews and a behind the scenes look at the filming of Pretty Boy.
Dare (Part 1)
A film from 2003, Dare, is in a class all its own. It’s the only LGBT short film I know of where a sequel has been produced — 15 years later!
The story takes place in high school where two very different students cross paths while working together in the drama club. Johnny, played by Michael Cassidy, is a popular rich kid playing male lead in the school play but not doing so well with his lines. Ben, played by Adam Fleming, is light boy on the stage crew. He’s withdrawn and a loner without many friends. These two have very little in common when Ben offers to help Johnny with his lines. Back at Johnny’s house they end up in the swimming pool … and … well, I’ll stop here so as not to spoil the film.
Dare was a huge success with awards and showings at over 50 film festivals worldwide. It was included in a DVD series of short gay films by Strand Releasing and a feature version of the film was also produced. A loyal and enthusiastic fan base inspired the filmmakers to produce the sequel. The original cast was assembled and now we see where Johnny and Ben are 15 years later.
You can watch the original 2003 film below. To watch the sequel go to DareShortFilm.com. You’ll be directed to Vimeo On Demand where you can rent the film for 48 hours to stream at $2.99, or buy it for download at $5.99. When you rent or buy, the original and sequel are now combined into a single film.
The Original 2003 Film
Trailer for the 2018 Sequel
This is a very power film! Written and directed by Brian Etter, he described it on YouTube: “A teenage boy delivers a message of acceptance to his rigid Catholic school during the morning announcements, through which he explains how the institution’s hypocritical message of ‘loving the sinner’ contributed to the suicide of his gay younger brother.”
How Would Jesus Treat the Gay Couple Next Door?
Star Trek: Blood and Fire
This final movie today doesn’t exactly qualify as a “short film” — it runs 90 minutes — but if you’re a Star Trek fan I think you’ll find it’s a real treat!
The film was produced as part of the Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek: Phase II series. These are fan films produced and distributed with the blessings of Paramount Pictures and CBS as long as there’s no charge and no profit (none here!). The production quality is astoundingly good when you consider the actors are amateurs and, according to Wikipedia, the films were produced in a former car dealership and a former Family Dollar store in New York state. The fan series started in 2004 with new films released about once a year. The project has received support from Star Trek alumni including George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett and Denise Crosby. Each appeared in some of the films.
According to Wikipedia, this episode — “Blood and Fire” — was originally commissioned and written by David Gerrold for TV’s Star Trek: Next Generation. It would have featured the first gay couple in the Star Trek franchise. It was never approved for production, however, so the script was adapted with Gerrold’s permission for the fan series. It now takes place on the original Enterprise, NCC-1701.
in this story Captain Kirk’s nephew is gay and assigned to serve on the Enterprise — and that’s all I’ll say. No spoilers here! For the rest you’ll have to watch.
Star Trek Sidebar
I’ll close today with an interesting sidebar to the Star Trek film. James Cawley, who played Captain Kirk in Blood and Fire, has been a Star Trek super fan his entire life. When not playing Kirk or working his other gigs as an Elvis impersonator, he constructed a full working model of the Enterprise NCC-1701 interior using the original studio blueprints and thousands of photographs. At a cost of $300,000 it’s quite remarkable in its authenticity — and is open to the public for tours in Ticonderoga, New York! William Shatner, the real Captain Kirk, will be on hand to personally welcome visitors on Friday, July 23, 2021.
My Pride 2021 Film Festival is a 4-week series posting every Saturday through June. Click here for the complete series.
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